A Brief Overview of Rubber Expansion Joints

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Rubber expansion joints are used in piping systems for a wide variety of reasons. These reasons include absorbing pipe movements in all directions (compression, extension, and lateral), minimizing vibration, and limiting sound transfer through the piping system.

In essence, rubber expansion joints are used in a piping system to provide flexibility and stress relief.

Expansion joints can be found in the following Pulp & Paper applications: Pulping System Pumps, Wastewater Treatment System Pumps, Liquor Lines, Bleach Plant Chlorination, Caustic Extraction Stages, Tanks, and finally, Digesters.

The average lifespan of a rubber expansion joint is roughly 7-10 years. Depending on the application, however, some joints only last a couple of months, while others can function well for 25+ years. High pressure, high temperature, aggressive or abrasive media, exposure to the elements, or extensive amount of movement required are just a few of the factors that lead to a shorter life expectancy.

Although there are general lengths of time that expansion joints will last, there is no definitive way to determine when to replace expansion joints or when the exact moment is that they will fail. Should an expansion joint failure occur? Most facilities do not have a plan in place for quick replacement. The best way to prepare for a failure and limit downtime is an expansion joint survey.

Surveys of expansion joints are critical for plant maintenance, especially with plants that are trying to maximize productivity and profits while also limiting downtime. Surveys also have the potential to save a plant from potential environmental concerns. Expansion joint surveys are a value-added service that helps prepare for a worst-case scenario. This will ultimately ensure reliability at your facility.

What does an expansion joint survey include?

All expansion joints at the facility are cataloged. Important information such as the style, size, overall length, media, elastomer, current manufacturer of expansion joint installed, and the condition are documented. Pictures can also be taken for any highly critical areas, or for expansion joints that appear to be on the verge of failure. Once the survey is completed, the manufacturer can provide a newly created stores list of all expansion joints and a report with pictures.

The benefits of a survey include being proactive instead of reactive which allows you to catch failures before they happen, maximizing output and minimizing downtime, selecting expansion joints with the longest life span, stocking suggestions of common sizes and styles, streamline order replacements, using the newly created stores list to create a history of life expectancy of the expansion joint.

proco 23ssept21 2If you would like to have a FREE on-site inspection or expansion joints survey conducted to maximize your output & avoid a catastrophic failure, please contact Eric Blazej at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Proco Products will also be exhibiting at the TappiCon tradeshow, booth 639.

Source: Proco